Colored contact lenses allow you to change your eye color and create a look that's subtle, bold or anywhere in between — whether you want to enhance your everyday look or rock a crazy design for Halloween and other special occasions.
Color contacts are available in both prescription and plano forms:
- Prescription color contacts correct your myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, as well as enhancing or completely changing your eye color.
- Plano color contacts are worn purely for cosmetic purposes to change your eye color and have no lens power for vision correction.
The cost of colored contacts can be significantly more than for regular contacts; but for many wearers, the ability to change their eye color is well worth it.
Some people prefer a dramatic transformation, while others are happier with a more subtle eye color change. Which type of person are you? (For a close-up slide show, please click on the image.)
Types of Color Contacts
Most colored contact lenses are designed to mimic the natural look of the colored part of the eye, called the iris.
Since this area is made up of colorful shapes and lines, some color contacts feature a series of tiny colored dots and radially arranged colored lines and shapes to help the lenses look more natural on the eye.
The center of the lens, the part that lies over your pupil, is clear so you can see.
Color contacts come in three kinds of tints:
- Visibility tint. This usually is a light blue or green tint added to a lens, just to help you see it better during insertion and removal, or if you drop it. Visibility tints are relatively faint and do not affect your eye color.
- Enhancement tint. This is a solid but translucent (see-through) tint that is a little darker than a visibility tint. As the name implies, an enhancement tint is meant to enhance the natural color of your eyes. Colored contacts with this type of tint usually are best for people who have light-colored eyes and want to make their eye color more intense.
Opaque tint. This is a non-transparent tint that can change your eye color completely. If you have dark eyes, you'll need this type of color contact lens to change your eye color.
Color contacts with opaque tints come in a wide variety of colors, including hazel, green, blue, violet, amethyst, brown and gray.
Costume or theatrical contact lenses also fall into the category of opaque color tints. Long used in the movies (examples are The Man Who Fell to Earth, Avatar and the Twilight series), these special-effect contact lenses are now widely available for novelty use.
You can temporarily transform yourself into an alien, gothic or vampire, to name a few. You can even wear the same type of contacts used in Twilight!
Choosing the Right Color
The contact lens color that will suit you best depends on numerous factors, such as your hair color and skin tone. But, ultimately, it depends on the kind of look you want to achieve — subtle and natural-looking or dramatic and daring.
Color contacts for light eyes. If you want to change your appearance but in a more subtle way, you may want to choose an enhancement tint that defines the edges of your iris and deepens your natural color.
And if you want to experiment with a different eye color while still looking natural, you might choose contact lenses in gray or green, for example, if your natural eye color is blue.
If you're after a dramatic new look that everyone notices immediately, those with naturally light-colored eyes and a cool complexion with blue-red undertones might choose a warm-toned contact lens such as light brown.
Color contacts for dark eyes. Opaque colored tints are the best choice if you have dark eyes. For a natural-looking change, try a lighter honey brown or hazel colored lens.
But if you really want to stand out from the crowd, opt for contact lenses in vivid colors, such as blue, green or violet. And if your skin is dark, bright-colored lenses can create a show-stopping new look.
Read more about what color contacts you should get.